I have been a pastor and spend a lot of time talking to pastors, and as I do I learn that one of the struggles many pastors have is prayer.
It’s not that they don’t know how to pray, but in the midst of hectic pastoral schedules with more responsibilities than hours available, they often feel that prayer consists of a few fleeting moments stuffed between other priorities. As we read about the rich prayer lives of past spiritual giants, it is easy to feel shallow when it comes to this matter of spending time with God.
In his book Praying With Paul (Baker Academic), D.A. Carson offers ministers some helpful counsel in this area. He points out that, “Much praying is not done because we do not plan to pray. We do not drift into spiritual life; we do not drift into disciplined prayer, We will not grow in prayer unless we plan to pray. That means we must self-consciously set aside time to do nothing but pray. . . .
“Set times for prayer are important: they ensure that vague desires for prayer are concretized in regular practice. . . . Wise planning will ensure that we devote ourselves to prayer often, even if for brief periods; it is better to pray often with brevity than rarely but at length. But the worst option is simply not to pray – and that will be the controlling pattern unless we plan to pray.”
Just as we plan our meetings and other parts of our day, we can plan those times we spend with God – and those will be the most important parts of our day!